By Steve & Tamami Laser
After flying more than 10,000 miles round-trip to cover the Tokyo Motor Show, we only had a few weeks to get ready for the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the first major show of the season in North America.
Before the show opened to the public, journalists had the chance to check out hundreds of new cars, trucks and SUVs, like the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Roadster (above). The Los Angeles Convention Center also was the site for AutoMobility LA™, the annual Auto-Tech Trade Show. In the first of our four-part series we highlight new Acura, BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Honda models.
Acura rewards its flagship sedan with a fresh new look for 2018 accelerating the brand’s “Precision Crafted Performance DNA.” We really like the new front styling and diamond pentagon grille that gives it a more aggressive and sporty attitude.
Our video takes a quick look at the outside, inside and under the hood of the new 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD top-line model.
Acura says the new RLX is its most sophisticated and powerful sedan ever and the second most powerful model in the lineup after the NSX sports car. The Sport Hybrid is fitted with a direct-injected V6 engine, three electric motors and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™.
It puts out 377 total horsepower and 341 lb.-ft. of torque and shares some of its components with the NSX. The luxury sedan also receives a new standard 10-speed automatic transmission while Traffic Jam Assist joins the roster of standard AcuraWatch™ safety features.
Inside the plush cabin, the RLX gains new Milano leather-trimmed seats and more premium materials throughout. The list of standard features for the Sport Hybrid includes a head-up display, Acura Navigation with 8-inch screen, premium Krell Audio with 14 speakers, Surround View Camera, heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
BMW i8 Roadster
BMW’s extraordinary i8 sports car still turns plenty of heads with its exotic car styling and advanced plug-in hybrid powertrain. Wide-open exhilaration embarks on a bold new road for the 2019 model year with the introduction of the gorgeous i8 Roadster.
Scheduled to go on sale when spring blossoms start to bloom next year, BMW’s i8 Roadster offer a new dimension of top-down motoring.
Total hybrid output for the enhanced i8 Coupe and new Roadster is boosted to 369 horsepower (up 12 hp) while an improved battery with increased capacity allows nearly silent EV driving for up to an estimated 18 miles.
Both i8 models feature a TwinPower Turbo tech 3-cylinder gas engine that drives the rear wheels via a 6-speed Steptronic transmission. The electric motor transfers its power to the front wheels via a two-speed auto gearbox.
Two passengers enter the beautifully appointed cockpit through swing-up doors. BMW says the i8’s power soft-top opens and closes in less than 16 seconds while the car is in motion up to 31 mph. The standard navigation system is accessed via an iDrive Touch Controller on the center console and 8.8-inch floating touchscreen on the dash.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible
We’ve been fans of the Chevrolet Corvette since high school. Back then the third-generation Corvette, and especially the ultra-rare 1970 ZR1 convertible, was our dream car. The magic was rekindled in L.A. with the amazing new 2019 ZR1 drop-top.
Journalists had the chance to check out the view from the driver’s seat of the incredible new Corvette ZR1 convertible during the media preview days in L.A.
The new ZR1’s special LT5 6.2L supercharged V8 is rated at 755 horsepower and 715 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission choices include a 7-speed manual or ZR1-first 8-speed auto with paddle shifters. Chevrolet says the ZR1 convertible, like the coupe, is capable of track speeds in excess of 200 mph!
An available Design Package dresses the ZR1 with bright Sebring Orange Tintcoat paint, orange brake calipers, orange rocker and splitter accent stripes, orange seat belts, interior stitching and unique bronze aluminum interior trim. The cockpit also offers a carbon-fiber rimmed steering wheel, competition sport seats, Performance Data Recorder and Bose premium audio.
The ZR1 coupe and convertible feature a new front fascia to assist drivetrain cooling. The carbon-fiber hood sports a “halo” design that’s open in the middle to clear the supercharger and intercooler assembly. The new ZR1s are expected to go on sale in the spring with preliminary MSRPs of $119,995 for the coupe and $123,995 for the convertible.
Camaro ZL1 1LE
One of our favorite Camaro models is the 2018 ZL1 1LE. It sports an LT4 6.2L supercharged V8 that kicks out 650 horses while the 1LE package equips the car with goodies like Multimatic DSSV dampers, adjustable camber plates and Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires.
This Camaro ZL1 1LE commands attention with its carbon fiber rear wing plus air deflectors and dive planes on the front fascia. An Extreme Track package is a new option for 2018.
While the 1LE is fitted with creature comforts like dual-zone climate control and Bose audio, attention to weight reduction results in lighter wheels and dampers, thinner rear glass and a fixed-back rear seat. Chevrolet says this track-focused Camaro carries a base price of $69,995 (about $7,500 more than the ZL1 coupe).
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Dodge pulled a fast one by recently unleashing the limited-edition Challenger SRT® Demon for the 2018 model year. Billed as the industry’s first “purpose-built street-legal production drag car,” the automaker says Demon is “Certified by the National Hot Rod Association as the world’s fastest quarter-mile production vehicle.”
Our video shows the Challenger SRT Demon on a turntable display at L.A. and also takes a quick look (from the outside) of a drag-strip driving simulator at the Dodge display with full-size cars.
Dodge offers a “Demon Crate” for owners filled with Direct Connection Performance Parts including a performance powertrain control module and narrow, front-runner drag wheels. The automaker plans to build just 3,300 units of the Demon for sale in the U.S. and Canada.
Under the hood, Demon’s supercharged 6.2L Hemi® V8 spins out an amazing 840 horsepower and 770 lb.-ft. of torque with Direct Connection controller and 100 octane unleaded fuel. (Output drops a bit to 808 horses and 717 lb.-ft. with 91 octane premium fuel.)
Challenger R/T Plus Shaker
Dodge continues to offer the Challenger in a wide variety of models for 2018. And while we’d love to own a Demon, this Challenger R/T Plus Shaker is equipped the way we like it along with a base MSRP starting at $39,995 (about half the cost of a Demon).
The Shaker hood scoop with Mopar cold air intake really sets off the style of this Challenger R/T. It’s also fitted with Brembo brakes and cool 20-inch alloy wheels.
The R/T Plus Shaker’s Hemi V8 is rated at 375 horses and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. Electronically controlled active exhaust is also on the menu. Inside, this Challenger features a 7-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster and 8.4-inch Uconnect® touchscreen media center with Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, HD Radio® and Bluetooth®.
Shelby GT350R and Ford Mustang by Roush
While the new Mustang gains plenty of upgrades for 2018, including new front and rear styling and an available 10-speed auto tranny, we can’t stop thinking about the Shelby GT350R® and Roush Mustang displayed at the Ford stand.
We highlight two of our favorite Mustang fastbacks at the L.A. show on this video; the Shelby GT350R and the Roush.
The roster of impressive equipment on the Shelby GT350® includes a 526-horse 5.2L V8 with Flat Plane Crank, Tremec® 6-speed manual gearbox, Brembo® brakes and Recaro® seats. The track-focused GT350R adds goodies like 19-inch carbon fiber wheels, Michelin® Pilot® Sport Cup 2 tires, a carbon fiber rear wing, larger front splitter and special chassis tuning.
This 2018 Mustang Fastback by Roush Performance features a Ford Performance/Roush supercharged 5.0L V8 with cold air intake, active quad-tip exhaust with x-pipe, ram air with functional hood scoop, custom exhaust, Brembo GT series brakes, Roush performance suspension and Vossen/Roush custom 20-inch RVS wheels wrapped with Continental Extreme Contact tires.
The 2018 Accord is all-new, rides on a lighter and more rigid body structure, gains a new chassis design, plus two new, high-torque direct-injected and turbocharged engines. The lineup also offers a new 10-speed automatic transmission, plus a new generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology.
The 2018 Honda Accord looks great dressed with its sophisticated and athletic design. A sweeping roofline positioned farther back on the body completes the new look.
Powertrain choices include a new 1.5-liter, 16-valve DOHC direct-injected turbo that produces 192 horsepower mated to a CVT or 6-speed manual gearbox. A new 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC direct-injected turbo with i-VTEC® and 252 horses is called the most powerful Accord ever. It offers a 10-speed automatic or 6MT. A new, refined and fuel-efficient Accord Hybrid is also on tap for next year featuring the third-generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology.
Accord offers a new 7-inch TFT instrument cluster and 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen interface with physical volume and tuning knobs. Smartphone-like features and functionality include customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts, along with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility.
HondaLens™ Augmented Reality made its debut at the L.A. show to help showcase new Accord technology and features. Wearing the Microsoft HoloLens™, users could experience six stories, including a hologram version of the new turbo engine (above) by walking around and sitting inside the car.
Click or tap on the following links for our additional 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show stories:
CarNichiWa.com thanks the Los Angeles Auto Show for providing us with a press pass to the media preview days.
Note: Features, specifications and launch timing for U.S. market production models in this story are subject to change without notice.
Additional photos (as noted) courtesy FCA and Honda
Story, photos (as noted) and videos © 2017 CarNichiWa.com